Heart-wrenching news at Belmont Manor

30 deaths -- 116 residents and 59 employees test positive

What follows is a message from Stewart Karger, administrator of Belmont Manor, to the families and loved ones of the residents of the nursing home. The rapid spread of the disease (the first positive test came back March 30) and the many deaths help explain why nursing homes have become the real hotspots in the fight against COVID-19. As of Thursday, the 610 COVID-19 deaths at long-term care facilities across the state accounted for 49 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts.

 IT IS WITH A HEAVY HEART and a continued commitment to honesty and transparency that I write today to share the updated numbers on COVID-19 and Belmont Manor. As I noted in my previous message, we recently were able to test a significant portion of our residents and staff. Across the Commonwealth, increased testing has resulted in increased positive results and the same is true at Belmont Manor.

While not all of the tests are complete, I can share the following update:

  • 116 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 2 test results are pending
  • 94 employees (out of around 190) have been tested, 59 positive; we are working to get all employees tested
  • 30 total resident deaths from within our community; 4 were in the hospital at the time of death

It is important to note that while a number of residents have tested positive, not all of these individuals have symptoms. Our team is redoubling our efforts with our residents – both in terms of their physical health and maintaining their connections to their families. We are carefully monitoring all residents and are taking action to address any symptoms with our clinical team as quickly as we can.

While all of those numbers are difficult to see, it is the last one that is the hardest. Though the residents at Belmont Manor tend to be older, there is no age at which one wants to lose a family member or worry about their health, particularly not at a time when visitation is so limited. Every death represents an enormous amount of loss to the families of these individuals. And because many of these residents have been with us for a longer period of time, this feeling of loss is something that we at Belmont Manor share. We have personally extended our sympathies to these families.

I also want to share what we are doing on a staff level:

  • All symptomatic staff have been home on sick leave until they are asymptomatic for 24 hours
  • Any staff that has tested positive is allowed to work if asymptomatic for 24 hours
  • We continue to have minimal staff to meet patient care needs
  • We are extremely appreciative of the continued commitment of our staff to this important work; we have increased pay as a small gesture of appreciation

The aggressive infection control methods we have had in place since early March remain underway. If you would like more details on these steps (which include everything from increased personal protective equipment for staff to suspending resident social interaction and visitation), please let me know. We are in regular contact with both the Massachusetts and Town of Belmont Departments of Public Health and are carefully monitoring the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to assure that we have all the appropriate steps in place.

Many of you have reached out to me to express your understanding of this challenging situation. We are confident from our conversations with the state and local boards of health that we have taken all the appropriate steps, consistent with our longstanding and recognized commitment to quality. The news reports make it clear that we are not alone in this matter. However, neither of those facts makes the current situation any less devastating to our residents, their family members, our staff and me personally.

Meet the Author

Stewart Karger

Administrator, Belmont Manor
Thank you for your continued support for Belmont Manor; I will continue to provide regular updates. In addition, we will be sharing shortly more information about an upcoming Zoom (video conference) meeting with our Medical Director, Director of Nursing and other relevant staff. The meeting time is Friday, April 16, 2020 at 11:00 am. Please watch your email for more information.

As always, feel free to contact me directly at any time – the least I can do is be responsive to your concerns.